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thank you much for the link, kazim. i studied for hours yesterday. confirmed one of my fears that no one online in a game had solid info on: zeal limited to 5 hits. oh well. looks like i'll be switching from a "power zealot" to a "pure charger".

Don't underestimate zeal. The reason it was changed is because paladins were getting stuck in "zeal-lock" where they would sit around whacking for two seconds or more without a break. If you're surrounded, this is a really bad thing because it keeps you from retreating to a better position, and you can get killed.

Five hit zeal is still pretty rapid and costs little mana, even when you have to start another assault every five hits. Extra points in the skill after 4 are not wasted, because you get a boost to your attack rating with each point, and that makes it so you don't have to spend as many stat points on dexterity. My advice is to use zeal as a primary, cheap attack, and switch to charge or vengeance against tough enemies or when you've got mana to spare. And try out a few points in the "fanaticism" aura, it speeds up your zeal attack hugely. In the expansion it also boosts your damage, but I don't know if that is true of vanilla Diablo.

anyone playing d2 normal ever notice the almost total absence of high level paladins? i almost never enter a hell game with any pals in it beside myself, and i haven't seen a pal at a higher lvl than me since i broke 54. i know of course that they are there, as the ladder shows, but how come i never see them?

Paladins are team players, and not many battle.netters are team players. The best thing about being a paladin is when you can give your aura to large parties and stay relatively safe yourself. This isn't as appealing to power solo players, but don't let it bother you. Find a party. The lack of other paladins can work in your favor since everybody will be desperate to join one.
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